ARNOLD, Joseph

1782 - 1818

Josephus Arnold

Joseph Arnold was born at Beccles, Suffolk on 28 December 1782, fourth son of Edward Arnold, a tanner. Apprenticed to Mr Crowfoot, an apothecary at Saxmundham, Suffolk, he then entered Edinburgh University where, in 1807, he graduated MD. He then joined the Navy and served in H.M.S. Victory and on 3 March 1809 was promoted surgeon medical officer and transferred to H.M.S. Hindoostan which had been detailed to convey the 73rd Regiment to Sydney and arrived on 28 December 1809. In 1815 he again visited Sydney when in charge of the female convict transport 'Northampton' bound for Botany Bay, the first surgeon-superintendent of a convict ship appointed on the British government's adoption of that system. Arnold contemplated settling in Sydney to practise but, partly because Lachlan Macquarie, then Governor of New South Wales ignored him, and partly because he was unable to reduce his living expenses below 13s. a day, he gave up on that idea and on 13 July 1815 took passage for England aboard the ‘Indefatigable’ via Java [Batavia]. At Java, the ‘Indefatigable’ was destroyed by fire at the water's edge, together with most of his specimens and his collection of insects from South America, Australia, and Sunda Strait with some of his journals which he had kept during his service, containing details of people, anecdotes, extracts, and natural history notes from many parts of the world with many illustrations. He returned England to live with his brother at Beccles but on the recommendation of his friend Sir Joseph Banks, in early 1818 went to Sumatra under governor Sir Stamford Raffles, to medically attend Raffle's new wife Sophia and as the government appointed naturalist. He studied intensively in London for some weeks before sailing for Bencoolen, where he arrived on 22 March 1818. After an expedition, with Raffles, into the interior Joseph Arnold died of fever at Padang, Sumatra on 26 July the same year. There is a monument to his memory in Beccles Church.

Works by This Artist